The Government has announced that it is to provide an additional €2m to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

The extra money brings the total funding for the agency from Ireland this year to €9m.

Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney, who announced the funding, said that the ongoing conflict in the Middle East region has meant an increased demand for UNRWA's services.

He said that Ireland is a longstanding supporter of UNRWA's work

"Ireland is a longstanding supporter of UNRWA's work in delivering healthcare, education and relief and social services, including humanitarian food assistance, to 5.3 million Palestine refugees," he said.

"The US decision earlier this year to cease funding to UNRWA has made the Agency's situation even more precarious," he added.

Mr Coveney said that he had pledged to provide the extra funding at the UN General Assembly in New York in September.

"The services that UNRWA provides are necessary, and will remain necessary, until a durable solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict can be negotiated that meets the needs of both parties, ends the occupation that began in 1967 and resolves all final status issues," said Mr Coveney.